What is sexual harassment? What managers and supervisors need to know
Some organisations require supervisors to complete sexual harassment training to ensure you are compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety laws. Sexual harassment training for supervisors specifically outlines their responsibilities to their employees. It is the responsibility of all managers/supervisors to ensure that everybody in the workplace is free from sexual harassment. Every manager, supervisor and employee has a significant role in ensuring the achievement of workplaces that are free of all forms of sexual harassment. The role of sexual harassment training for supervisors is to provide the additional knowledge required to understand what sexual harassment is, and how to deal with it if it occurs.
Sexual harassment can take various forms. It can involve conduct such as:
- unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing
- staring or leering
- suggestive comments or jokes
- sexually explicit pictures, screen savers or posters
- unwanted invitations to go out on dates or requests for sex
- intrusive questions about an employee’s private life or body
- unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against someone
- insults or taunts of a sexual nature
- sexually explicit emails or SMS messages
- accessing sexually explicit internet sites
- inappropriate advances on social networking sites
- behaviour which would also be an offence under the criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications.
Sexual harassment does not have to be repeated or continuous to be against the law. It can be a one-off incident. Certain conduct may only have to occur once to constitute sexual harassment.
Both men and women can experience sexual harassment at work. However, it is most commonly experienced by women. A survey released by the Australian Human Rights Commission in November 2008 found that 22% of women and 5% of men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace at some time. After completing a workplace harassment training program, supervisors should be armed with the knowledge required to ensure this doesn’t occur in their workplace.
Some forms of sexual harassment, such as assault, physical molestation, stalking, sexual assault and indecent exposure are also criminal offences.
The Anti-Discrimination Act provides that all kinds of sexual harassment are against the law regardless of where the sexual harassment happens. Workplace harassment training will provide supervisors with the knowledge they need to prevent harassment and deal with it if it occurs.
Sexual harassment training can be completed online.
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